Ten Lessons from a Cave and Office

Pastor DaronCrossLife Blog

We love the idea of revenge. It’s the plot of most trending action series or box office movies. It appeals to our sense of fairness—everyone gets what they deserve. But it’s wrong. The Bible says, “Do not take revenge” (Romans 12:19). 

How is that possible when we live in a world of such injustice? Doesn’t the idiot who cut you off in traffic need to learn a lesson? Doesn’t your ex or your irresponsible sister need to feel some pain to understand what kind of hurt they’ve dished out to you?

Take a step back and look at this. David is the aspiring successor to the throne in ancient Israel. He’s popular, talented, and the current king, Saul, feels threatened. So Saul wants to kill David. He’s chasing him in the rugged wilderness, hills and caves of En Gedi. 

David isn’t fighting back, but fleeing. David hasn’t done anything wrong. This is all unfair, unkind and unasked for. Here are ten lessons to learn from David’s response to injustice.

These are songs David wrote “When he had fled from Saul into the cave” (Psalm 57) and “When he was in the cave. A prayer” (Psalm 142). Don’t focus on your problem so much that you forget to pray.

“I cry out to God Most High, to God, who … saves me, rebuking those who hotly pursue me.” The solution to injustice is not taking revenge on those who hurt you, but taking it to God. Revenge doesn’t save you. God does. Thirdly, you can’t take revenge but God does, and will, in his time and way.

“I am in desperate need … I am in the midst of lions … men whose teeth are spears and arrows, whose tongues are sharp swords … rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.” The pain of injustice is real. It’s scary. It’s strong. We need rescue. Fifth lesson: it’s too scary and too strong for us to handle. It’s okay to admit it by going to God and saying, “I need help here. I can’t do this but you can.”

“Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth.” David’s response is not to elevate himself. This is natural when we experience injustice, unfair hurt, or victimization. Honestly, we don’t want to settle the score and make things even. We’re not looking for a tie score. We want to win. We want to feel superior, to feel better at the expense of the other person. God wants us both to win, to believe and be saved, to repent and live a new life. So David makes his response more about God than himself. He also wants the publicity and social media posts to make God look better and superior, not himself.

“When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who watch over my way … no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.” Injustice is exhausting. It drains a person. David’s spirit grows faint. No doubt he felt like just giving up. He faced all kinds of lies as voices around him (his friends) and within him (his own self-talk) barraged him with bad ideas. Ninth lesson: injustice can be very lonely. It can feel like nobody else understands, nobody else cares, nobody else knows the trouble you’re going through. Caution: this can also be a signal that you are suffering from perceived injustice and not actual injustice, that you are making a big thing out of something that everyone else sees is not such a big thing. Be discerning about this.

“I cry to you, Lord; I say, ‘You are my refuge.’” Finally, the truth of the matter is that our Lord God is always a safe place, a peaceful home, a fortress of protection, a listening friend, a victorious warrior, a forgiving Savior, a perfectly wise counselor and the CEO of the universe who gives us the keys to his office and says, “I’m here. Whenever you need.” 

We all scamper into a dark, lonely cave at some point because we’re being chased by what we didn’t ask for and what we don’t deserve. There’s always a back door to that cave, and it’s the door that opens into God’s office.

PRAYER: God, I can’t handle this injustice. It’s power is strong and it wants to control me with its lies, but I want to believe your truth. Be my refuge. Help me trust you. Give me guidance and the attention to truly listen. Keep me from revenge. Amen.

FURTHER MEDITATION: I preached a Sunday sermon message about revenge. Watch it here https://crosslifepf.org/messages/god-never-fails-leaders-do/.